CODA,” a touching film about a deaf family with a hearing daughter, won a historic best picture Oscar on Sunday, overshadowed by best-actor winner Will Smith’s slapping of presenter Chris Rock.
“CODA” is the first film from Apple TV+ (AAPL.O), a streaming service, to receive the Academy Award for Best Picture.
Smith marched up to the stage and gave an open-handed slap to Rock after the presenter made a joke about the actor’s wife, Jada Pinkett Smith, in what appeared to be one of the Oscars telecast’s many pranks.
However, it was evident that the moment was unscripted when Smith, who had returned to his seat, exchanged words with Rock that included a twice-repeated profanity, startling the Dolby Theatre audience.
Smith found out he had won best actor a few minutes later. He cried and apologised to his fellow nominees and the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences in his acceptance speech, but not to Rock.
The altercation was in stark contrast to the “CODA” feel-good moments. Nearly everyone in the crowd stood and applauded in sign language as the film won Oscars for best picture, best supporting actor, and best adapted screenplay.
“CODA” beat over Netflix Inc.’s (NFLX.O) dark Western “The Power of the Dog,” as well as other typical Hollywood studio entrants.
“I sincerely want to thank the Academy for recognising a film about love and family at this tough time,” producer Patrick Wachsberger remarked in front of the film’s cast, who were standing on stage.
After pandemic limitations hampered last year’s celebration, Hollywood’s most prestigious awards presentation returned to all-out glamour.
The mood changed, however, when Smith struck Rock after the comic made a joke about Demi Moore shaving her head in the 1997 film “G.I. Jane.” Smith’s wife, who told Billboard in December that she has been battling the autoimmune disorder alopecia, which may cause hair loss and baldness, was the target of the remark.
“Will Smith just knocked the shit out of me,” Rock remarked to laughter from the audience, who initially mistook it for a farce.
“Keep my wife’s name out of your fucking mouth,” Smith yelled back from his seat. During the live broadcast on Walt Disney Co’s (DIS.N) ABC in the United States, the remark was muted.
In “King Richard,” Smith earned best actor for his portrayal of the tenacious father of tennis legends Venus and Serena Williams.
“Richard Williams was a staunch defender of his family,” he stated in a vague apology when accepting the honour. Life imitates art. Like Richard Williams, I have the appearance of a mad father. Love, on the other hand, will drive you insane.”
The Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences announced on Twitter that it “does not condone violence in any form.”
Investigators were aware of the event, but “the individual involved” had so far declined to submit a police report, Los Angeles police said in a statement, without naming names.
Jane Campion, with her film “Power of the Dog,” became only the third woman in the 94-year history of the Academy Awards to win best director.
In “The Eyes of Tammy Faye,” Jessica Chastain won best actress for her role as TV preacher Tammy Faye Bakker.
Troy Kotsur made history by being the first deaf guy to receive an Academy Award for “CODA,” which is also an acronym for “child of deaf adults.” Frank Rossi, played by Kotsur, is the father of an adolescent who is trying to aid her family’s fishing business while pursuing her own musical dreams.
“This is dedicated to the deaf, ‘CODA,’ and disability communities. “This is our moment,” Kotsur remarked as he won the supporting actor award with an emotional statement delivered in sign language.
Ariana DeBose won Best Supporting Actress for her role as the lively Anita in Steven Spielberg’s adaptation of “West Side Story,” in which she sings “America.”
The Afro-Latina actress invited the audience to picture herself “in the back seat of a white Ford Focus” as a little girl.
She described herself as “a lesbian, openly gay Latina who discovered her strength in life via art.”
“Anyone who has ever doubted your identity. Whether you live in the grey regions or not, I promise you this: There is a place for us,” she said, referring to the emotional song from “West Side Story.”
“Dune,” a science-fiction epic, took home the most honours of the night, with six nominations in categories like cinematography and editing.
In contrast to last year’s pandemic-era, scaled-down celebration in a train station, Chastain, Nicole Kidman, and other nominees wore a spectrum of colours for a ceremony with 2,500 people.
After three years without a host, Amy Schumer, Regina Hall, and Wanda Sykes led the ceremony on Sunday.
“The Oscars recruited three women to host this year because it was less expensive than hiring one man,” Schumer said.
Here is the full list of winners:
Best Picture: CODA
Best Director: Jane Campion (The Power Of The Dog)
Best Actress: Jessica Chastain (The Eyes Of Tammy Faye)
Best Actor: Will Smith (King Richard)
Best Supporting Actress: Ariana DeBose (West Side Story)
Best Supporting Actor: Troy Kotsur (CODA)
Best Original Screenplay: Bellfast
Best Adapted Screenplay: CODA
Best International Feature Film: Drive My Car (Japan)
Best Animated Feature Film: Encanto
Best Documentary Feature: Summer Of Soul
Best Documentary Short: The Queen of Basketball
Best Animated Short: The Windshield Wiper
Best Live Action Short: The Long Goodbye
Best Original Score: Dune
Best Original Song: No Time To Die (No Time To Die)
Best Cinematography: Dune
Best Costume Design: Cruella
Best Production Design: Dune
Best Makeup and Hair: The Eyes of Tammy Faye
Best Sound: Dune
Best Film Editing: Dune
Best Visual Effects: Dune